12 July 2010

BP, the Oil Gusher, and the Constitution

This morning npr ran this story about the harassment of journalists and photojournalists seeking to investigate the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico by law enforcement officials - local, state, and federal - often working in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard and members of BP's security squad. The hook for the npr story is the encounter between ProPublica photographer Lance Rosenfield with a phalanx of law enforcement and BP security in Texas City, Texas. You can read his own report here. His experience is not unique - see this report and this one too. In each instance the officials - law enforcement or military - claim that they are acting at the behest of the corporation. Apparently the emergency means the Constitution has been suspended.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Public Squalor said...

Since 9/11 and the hysteria it inspired, the federal government seized that opportunity to impose unconstitutional restrictions on photographers and journalists. BP disaster aside, it's now illegal to photograph an oil refinery in the US, or a chemical plant or a military base, or...all in the name of Homeland Security.

Does everyone feel safe now?

` peace

12 July, 2010 08:36  
Blogger Tom White said...

I have often been harassed by the Police for taking photographs. Often in public spaces. I have had homeland security cited at me numerous times. I have to hold my tongue and prevent myself from saying that from what I know terrorists generally do not use antique large format cameras set on tripods that require standing in the same spot for many minutes on end in a manner that is highly visible and obvious.

12 July, 2010 19:05  

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